VR-17 bone point

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Classification: bone
Archaeological type: bone point
Material: bone
Size: fragment 1: length: 5.4 cm, thickness: 0.6 cm; fragment 2: length: 4.3 cm, thickness max.: 0.6 cm, thickness min.: 0.3 cm; diameter perforation: ca. 0.5 cm
Condition: fragmentary, restored
Date: end of the 2nd–beginning of the 1st centuries BC
Date derived from: archaeological context

Site: San Giorgio di Valpolicella (fraction of: Sant'Ambrogio di Valpolicella, Verona, Veneto, Italy)
Field name: Casaletti
Archaeological context: settlement, structure US 50
Coordinates (approx.): 45° 32' 6.00" N, 10° 51' 0.00" E [from site]
Find date: 2002
Find circumstances: excavation
Current location: Soprintendenza Archeologia del Veneto – Nucleo Operativo di Verona (repository)
Inventory Nr.: IG VR 65205

Inscription: VR-17 (]mai·ma)

Sources: Salzani 2003: 95–100
Marinetti 2003: 114 [No. 14], fig. 2.14
Marinetti 2004: 415–416 [No. 14], fig. 3.14


Bone point.
Small bone rod divided into an elongated section with a flat, long-oval and edged cross section and a lanceolate and perforated part. Broken in two fragments (cp. Marinetti 2003: 114; Marinetti 2004: 415), however according to Marchesini broken "in tre pezzi" (cp. MLR: 142). But according to Marinetti both pieces do not fit straight together (cp. Marinetti 2004: 415) although the figure suggests an entire but broken bone point (needle?) (cp. Marinetti 2004: fig. 3.14; for the uncertainty related to the correct object designation cp. also: Gamper 2006: 145; MLR: 142). The larger fragment broken at both ends. At one end apparently perforated. The smaller fragment broken at the area of the top. According to Marinetti a "punteruolo di corno" (cp. Marinetti 2004: 415), in contrast Marchesini indicates "di osso" (cp. MLR: 142). Related to as well the other bone points e.g. from the Ganglegg hill as to the indication given by Marchesini, it can be assumed that the material indication given by Marinetti is not correct.
Dimensions: Length of fragment 1: 5.5 cm, length of fragment 2: 4.5 cm (cp. Marinetti 2003: 114; Marinetti 2004: 415); according to Marchesini: "(...) di lunghezza rispettiva di 4,9, 2,3 e 1,9 cm; l'estremità di diametro inferiore non è integra; l'altra estremità conserva la metà di un foro passante di diam 0,4 cm. Lungh complessiva conservata 9,1 cm; spess 0,5–1 cm" (cp. MLR: 142).
On the larger fragment an inscription from right to left.
Find circumstances -> still missing
According to the Gamper's explanations related to the discoveries on the Ganglegg hill, it can be said that the extension related to bone points includes the areas along the Val d'Adige (Etschtal) to the Valpolicella region (cp. map 29 in Gamper 2006: 143). Inscribed bone points appear in the settlements among others of Sanzeno and Montesei di Serso. These settlements date to middle and late La Tène period. However there are other bone points e.g. from Monte Ozol which date already to the late Hallstatt period. But these objects are neither inscribed nor decorated and the dimension of these is larger than of those which date to later periods. The function of these bone points are uncertain. It can be suggested that they were used in handcraft sector or that they were part of the attire. Related to this insecurity Gamper indicates these objects on one side as bone points (Knochenspitze), otherwise he uses also the term needle (Nadel) (cp. Gamper 2006: 145). The secondary function of these bone points is the use and deposition of these for the ritual abandonment of houses. The ritual context can be verified so far only on the Ganglegg hill and the here located settlement. Related to altogether four houses resp. rooms the ritual use of the bone points is proved on the Ganglegg hill. Gamper suggests that a partly ritual function of the bone points can be supposed for the late La Tène period (cp. Gamper 2006: 145). On the Ganglegg hill were discovered several inscribed bone points (cp. in the present data bank VN-9 bone point, VN-11 bone point,VN-12 bone point, VN-16 bone point and VN-18 bone point) as well as a large number of bone points with incised signs of which the interpretation is uncertain. Probably they present decorations, numbers or the like (cp. the main chapter about the Non-script notational systems). Further examples of inscribed bone points derive from other find places (cp. in the present data bank NO-17 bone point and the present bone point). Marchesini indicates SZ-48 bone as fragment of a further bone point (cp. Marchesini 2014: 138).
In the recently released study about the Raetic inscriptions by Marchesini the bone point is listed with "MLR 125", an autopsy was effected (cp. MLR: 142 [MLR 125]).
Autopsied by the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum in November 2015.



Gamper 2006 Peter Gamper, Die latènezeitliche Besiedlung am Ganglegg in Südtirol. Neue Forschungen zur Fritzens-Sanzeno-Kultur [= Internationale Archäologie 91], Rahden/Westfalen: Leidorf 2006.
Marchesini 2014 Simona Marchesini, "Nuove iscrizioni retiche da Cles e Sanzeno (Trento)", in: Rosa Roncador, Franco Nicolis, Antichi popoli delle Alpi. Sviluppi culturali durante l'età del Ferro nei territori alpini centro-orientali (Atti della giornata internazionale di studi 1 maggio 2010 Sanzeno, Trento), Trento: Provincia autonoma di Trento. Soprintendenza per i beni architettonici e archeologici 2014, 127–144.
Marinetti 2003 Anna Marinetti, "Iscrizioni retiche di San Giorgio Valpolicella (VR)", Quaderni di Archeologia del Veneto (QdAV) IXX (2003), 111–117.
Marinetti 2004 Anna Marinetti, "Nuove iscrizioni retiche dall'area veronese", Studi Etruschi 70 (2004), 408–420.